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  • Writer's pictureKelly Alica Liman

Top 10 Zero Budget Marketing Tactics

Are you stressing about how to get started on your marketing strategy without breaking the bank? Don't fret! If you are a startup, if you are bootstrapping, if you started a new business, or if you are an SME, then read on because we're going to go through a lot of marketing ideas relevant to your current situation. In this article, you'll find 10 ways you can supercharge your marketing strategy with zero budget. Let's go!

Also, this article is accompanied by a Youtube explanation video from our XYZ Lab Youtube Channel. Enjoy!

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5 Reasons Every Company Needs a Zero-Budget Marketing Strategy

In case you need any more convincing on why your company should implement a zero-budget marketing strategy, here are 5 reasons you'd want to get started soon!

  1. Recession is here and economic cycles will repeat themselves. You never know when the recession is going to hit, so you have to be ready to cut your budget and operate in an alternative way.

  2. Marketing budgets can be cut at any time, even in good times. Even if there is no recession, companies may need to reduce budgets from time to time. This is a common situation and as such, you have to be prepared for when companies decide to slash marketing budgets.

  3. Relying exclusively on Paid Media may backfire (think IOS updates). If you remember the iOS update that happened a few years back, a lot of companies that relied exclusively on Meta Ads took a big hit due to the update. It is always very important to diversify your marketing strategy outside of just Paid Media.

  4. Zero Budget Marketing makes you more creative. When you can't rely on any budget, you're forced to become more creative and find new ways and ideas to operate outside of the box.

  5. Zero Budget Marketing sets your paid marketing up for success. Think about it, if you manage to generate sales and leads without having to spend any Media budget, then when you do start spending budget you're helping your paid campaigns to perform better.

Disclaimer: Zero budget doesn't mean zero effort. No marketing strategy will work without you putting effort into it. There are no quick fixes or easy ways to make money, so make sure to set your expectations and invest some time into running the zero-budget marketing strategies we will share below to maximize their results!

Idea 1: SEO-Friendly Content

First up, if you don't know what SEO means, it stands for Search Engine Optimization, a digital marketing strategy where you improve your website's technical setup, content relevancy, and link popularity so that your website pages will become more relevant to users and will show up higher on the search results. If you're new to the SEO world, here are some easy ways to max up your content game!

  • Brainstorm problem-solving & value-added content around your niche. Think about your business and what kind of problems your customers or users may be facing, as well as what kind of value you can bring to them through your content. For instance, if you are an accelerator or incubator, you can create content that solves the problems of startup founders, such as how to create a perfect pitch or how to attract investor funding. If you're a skincare company, think about what skincare lovers would like to know or are interested in. Maybe they would love to read about aging, or how to make the skin glow and avoid certain skin conditions. If you're an incorporation company, then you might want to create tax guides. So, think about the problem your customers may be facing and how you can help them solve it and add value through content.

  • Use ChatGPT to get a head start and Quillbot to paraphrase existing high-value content. If you don't have a budget yet to hire a content writer, there are plenty of tools these days that can help you write content faster than ever at no cost. Of course, you will still need to spend a little bit of time editing the content, but you can use these AI tools to get started.

  • Publish new content at least twice per week. Consistency is key, it is what drives progress in digital marketing. If you're not publishing consistently, you won't be seeing any results.

  • Insert CTA (call to action) links in the content. Now that people are visiting your content, you have to make your content work. In every piece of the content, don't forget to insert the call to action (i.e. text guide of what you want the user to do). For example, if you're a startup accelerator and incubator that's giving out a free startup pitch deck guide or template, do remind the audience how you can help them grow their startups and insert a CTA that links to your contact address. If you're a skincare company giving out free anti-aging guides, then set CTA that links to your shop with your best products. If you're an incorporation company with a free tax guide, then insert a CTA on how you can help them build their business.

  • Cross-promote the content via Social Media (Organic). Simple as pie, just always remember to share the link of your freshly-crafted content in your social media accounts so your followers may see it too!

Now, implement the above steps, sit back, relax, and see your sales and leads grow! To reiterate, consistency is key.

Idea 2: Guest Blogging

In case you don't know what guest blogging is, guest blogging is a content marketing strategy that involves authoring and posting a blog post on the website of another individual or company. Here's how you can do it!

  • Identify Guest Blogging websites in your niche. Type any keyword that is related to what you're selling on Google and find other websites, magazines, publications, forums, and anything that is related to your niche where you can post your content.

  • Use ChatGPT and Quillbot to develop 750-1,000 words content pieces, including links to your products. Again, these tools come in handy to speed up the content creation process. Of course, you shouldn't just copy the content created by these tools as is, but you can use them to get a head start.

  • Send your guest blogs to as many websites as possible. Now that you've built your list of guest blogging websites and you've got your content ready, do send an email to the website owners to get your content published. Some websites also allow you to author the content on the website and they will review it before publishing. Most importantly, don't forget to link back to your website!

  • Cross-promote the content on Social Media (Organic) when published. Spread the link for your articles so your organic social media followers are aware of them!

  • Repeat monthly with at least x2 guest blogs. The more guest blog you author, the more you will gain relationships, visibility, authority, and backlinks.

The same as SEO content, consistent guest blogging will allow you to see an increase in your organic traffic, sales, and leads!

Idea 3: Direct Outreach + Affiliate Marketing

Time to get your researching and emailing skills ready as you will be doing direct outreach and offering affiliate marketing deals! Affiliate marketing is a technique through which an affiliate promotes the products of another individual or business in return for a commission for each sale. How do you get an affiliate, you ask? Find out below!

  • Make a list of relevant prospects on LinkedIn, or relevant Influencers on Instagram or TikTok. It doesn't have to be these particular platforms, but whichever platform is relevant to what you're selling. For instance, if you're selling skincare, you might find more potential affiliates and relevant influencers on TikTok or Instagram. On the other hand, if you're a B2B company, you should list all the thought leaders on LinkedIn. Bottom line is, to make a list of everyone who can help you promote your brand in the an environment that matters for you and your brand.

  • Direct message all prospects, asking them to check out and give you feedback on your business. To note, don't just go randomly DM-ing people and ask them to collaborate with you or promote your business for free. You first need to capture their attention. Be respectful and write to them about what makes you think they are the right person for your brand, or how their content resonates with your business. In the end, quality affiliates will only want to partner with you if they think you are the right fit for their brand and vice versa.

  • Follow up at least twice with those who ignore you. Some people may not reply or even read your message, and that's okay! Try again and follow up twice in case they simply missed your message. Otherwise, don't spam them with your affiliate offers should they not be interested.

  • Thank those who reply and offer them an affiliate marketing deal. Congrats! You've got someone who is interested in promoting your product. Now you need to create a sound proposal and structure an affiliate marketing deal detailing information regarding the commission percentage and other important information on how you're going to work together.

  • Bonus tip: Use RocketReach or AnyEmailFinder to find email addresses. During your search, you can use these websites to find email addresses and reach out to people at scale.

If you actually implement these steps, sooner or later you are going to see the fruits of your labor materialize and you're going to watch your sales and leads grow!

Idea 4: Respond to FAQs

There are so many people searching for answers to various problems on the Internet. If you have the expertise and information they need, it is a good idea to respond to relevant FAQs and provide value to these people, which would in turn direct them to your business.

  • Navigate to Reddit and Quora. Other than these websites, there may also be other Q&A forums where your niche may be active in.

  • Find relevant threads and questions, and respond including a link to your website. Keep in mind when you're responding to these threads, you're trying to provide value and help them by giving them the answer they are searching for. So, make sure you actually put effort into crafting the best answer to the question, and if the readers find you helpful, they will naturally want to check out your website.

  • Note down the most popular FAQs and develop Search-Friendly Content. With this method, you'll be able to kill two birds with one stone. Not only will you answer questions for people who have certain problems and present your brand as a solution, but you will also enhance your own content and people will be able you to find you through this content.

  • Cross-promote this content via Social Media (Organic). Again, spread your content so it may reach more people. It can also serve as a great marketing calendar.

  • Repeat monthly via answering new questions. Of course, you may not have the time to answer questions daily but do invest some time once a month to surf through Reddit and Quora and try to respond to questions.

Idea 5: Host Meetups, Panels, or Podcasts Online

Hosting meetups, panels, podcasts, or any other kind of online event is a great avenue to directly engage with your potential customers and spread the word about your brand! Though it requires you to invest more time and effort, it will surely result in better quality leads and higher sales.

  • Brainstorm a problem-solving or value-added topic your customers care about. Think about recent trends, updates, changes around the world, tips and tricks, how-tos, and all sorts of topics that may be of interest to your customers.

  • Make a list of existing thought-leaders or people from your company who can add value. You can use the steps in Idea 3: Direct Outreach + Affiliate Marketing to build your list of thought leaders. You are going to use these thought leaders or influencers to create content that will really provide value for your audience.

  • Organise Online Meetups (Events), Panels, or Podcasts at least once per month. By consistently organizing these events, you will be able to raise your brand's awareness from various sources and bring many people to your brand as potential customers.

  • Cross-promote this content via Social Media (Organic). As always, anything can be content, so this is another opportunity to build and spread your content on social media as well. You can cut out small clips of the whole panel and post them as reels, or take a few important quotes and post them on your social media channels.

  • Repeat monthly.

Idea 6: Attend Networking Events

If you live in countries like Singapore or Hong Kong or big cities like London or New York, then there are plenty of opportunities to meet new people in various functions. Try to attend at least one networking event every week to get new contacts and establish new relationships.

  • Navigate to Meetup, Eventbrite, or equivalent platforms. These networking events may be held offline or virtually, so regardless of where you may be, you should be able to find events that suit your needs.

  • Find events relevant to your industry or target audience. Make sure to find events where your products or services may reach as well.

  • Attend at least x1 event per week and collect as many business cards as possible. When attending, do try to build relationships out of common interests so that when you do reach out later, they will remember you in a positive light.

  • Follow up with all your connections and introduce your brand, product, and services. Time to make use of all the effort you spend networking and tell them about what you have in store!

  • Repeat weekly.

By attending networking events, you're not only growing your connections but also the awareness of your brand. Now, if you are a B2C brand, you may think that this method is not going to be scalable. But, you don't actually need this strategy to be scalable. Instead, you want to meet the right people that can amplify your brand awareness in the market. That one right person may make more difference to your brand than 100 others who may not be a right fit for your brand, and to find that 1 person you have to attend these networking events and try to build genuine relationships with them.

If you can't find events relevant to your industry, then you can go back to Idea 5: Host Meetups, Panels, or Podcasts Online and make these events yourself. It would also be a great opportunity to fulfill what's missing from the market and for you to create content.

Idea 7: Leverage Employee Advocacy & Personal Networks

Your employees are your talents, and they each have an interesting story, knowledge, or information that may capture your audience's eyes. You can also leverage their personal networks to broaden your reach.

  • Interview your most important employees and record it on video.

  • Make sure the interviews are about the employees and their role in the organization. This would make interesting behind-the-scene content of how a company runs that people may be interested in. For example, you can show the day-to-day in the company, what is great in the company, what the company is achieving, etc.

  • Publish the content on Social Media and tag your employees. This is a great idea to capitalize on the networks of all the people who work in your company and amplify your brand awareness in the market.

  • Comment under each post as a brand with a link to your website. People appreciate interactions and attention from brands, and you can also use this as an opportunity to get them to go to your website.

  • Repeat with every new employee that joins the company. Again, it is a great way to get a lot of awareness without having to rely on Paid Media, but by relying on the network of the people that work for you.

Idea 8: Develop WIN-WIN Partnerships

Working with other partners who target the same audience may result in a boost to both your brands, even if they are not even remotely related to your business. Think Lego and Stranger Things, Marvel x Pandora, BMW x Louis Vuitton. These brands may have nothing in common other than their target audience, but through their partnerships, they were able to garner much attention and achieve huge success together.

  • Make a list of all companies that target the same audience but are not your competitors. Remember, it's not about finding a business with the same products or even related products (though it can be), but about who the businesses are targeting. For example, if you are selling furniture, think about businesses that you can partner with. Perhaps, you can partner with property websites since they help people to find apartments, and your furniture may be of interest to them. You are not a competitor, but you are targeting the same audience. So, make a list of people who are targeting the same audience but you are not competing with them.

  • Brainstorm WIN-WIN ideas to collaborate. Here, you can play with your creativity on how you can make the ideas work for both of your businesses! After all, a brand will only want to work with you if they also see the value in partnering up.

  • Reach out directly and pitch your collaboration idea to their marketing team.

  • Bonus Tip: Make it quick, easy, and straightforward. No one wants to spend time discussing too much over ideas and taking a too long time to materialize them. So, the more structured your idea and approach is to collaborate, the better the strategy is going to work and you'll be able to build better partnerships for your brand.

  • Repeat quarterly.

Idea 9: High-Ranking Content Outreach

This idea is similar to Idea 3: Direct Outreach + Affiliate Marketing we discussed earlier, but the execution is slightly different. Now we are looking for articles and content pieces that rank very highly on Google or other popular search engines, so we may outreach our content to higher quality and higher traffic websites.

  • Google “top ______ companies in location” or “best ________ companies in location”. For example, search for the "top job websites in Malaysia" and find the content pieces that rank for this keyword.

  • Make a list of all the non-competitive content that ranks on the first two pages of Google. Find all the magazines or the publisher on these pages and the people that are making the decisions behind the publications.

  • Bonus tip: Use RocketReach or AnyEmailFinder to find the author's email addresses.

  • Email them directly and ask to be featured in the article. Make sure that you provide relevant content and explain how your business would fit and add value to their article to make a convincing case for yourself.

  • Follow up at least 3 times.

Idea 10: Offer Free Consultation or Free Samples

This is not a new idea in the books, but it is certainly an effective one. Some customers may need that little bit of push to get them interested, and offering free consultations or free samples would be a way to get your foot in the door. Once they have tried your product or service, there's a higher likelihood of them becoming real and returning customers should they like your product.

  • Offer free consultation on a pain point or free product samples. If you are a B2B company, for instance, an enterprise software company. Then, you can offer a free consultation on a pain point that your audience is facing. If you are a B2C brand, then offer a small free sample product to get them hooked.

  • Promote the offer via Organic Social Media and Email Marketing.

  • Follow through with the people who claim the consultation or sample with a limited-time offer. People may have tried your product or service and forgotten about it after some time, so remind them why they should buy your product or service and give them a little nudge to convert by giving a limited-time offer.

  • Develop an email marketing sequence of at least x3 email reminders.

  • Trial similar offers to check what your audience responds best to.

What's great about this strategy is that you're not only collecting data for your CRM efforts, but you may also build an audience list for your Paid Media channels that you can use to target people with similar interests or backgrounds, or for Paid remarketing campaigns.

Bonus Tip: Use Clarity (FREE) to optimize your landing pages

To emphasize, your marketing should not only be about prospecting, winning new customers, or making awareness of our brand in the market, but it is also about improving our conversion rate. Clarity is a free analytic software by Microsoft that you can use in order to understand how your landing pages are working and to optimize your landing pages.

The best features are the heat maps and the recordings so you can understand why certain landing pages work and why other landing pages don't. To use Clarity:

  • Install Clarity on all your website pages.

  • Watch recordings relevant to your landing pages.

  • Identify where and why users drop off in your funnel.

  • Experiment with your copywriting and page layouts.

  • Bonus Tip: Use Google Optimise to A/B test your product, pricing or other landing pages. Google Optimize is going to be embedded in Google Analytics 4, but you can still use tools like Google Optimizer-equivalent to build new alternatives as your landing pages and test more landing page variations and become more efficient.


There you have it, ten simple and straightforward ways to develop a zero-budget marketing strategy. Now repeat the steps above consistently, and as we guarantee, you will see an increase in your traffic, leads, and sales!


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